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Dinghy insurance 101

May 20, 2021

Dinghy sailing is a popular way to take to the water, but with dinghies becoming increasingly valuable1 they are also becoming more popular targets for thieves. This means that insurance is becoming an important consideration for many dinghy sailors.

In this article, we answer some of the most commonly asked questions about dinghy insurance.

Do I need dinghy insurance?

Whilst it is not a legal requirement to have boat insurance in UK waters, most sailing clubs, marinas and council run lakes or slipways will require you to have third party indemnity insurance up to £3 million before you can launch.

In addition, you can insure your dinghy against loss or damage so if your dinghy is damaged and requires repair, or is destroyed or stolen, you will be protected financially.

What type of dinghy can I insure?

With Bishop Skinner Marine you can insure anything from an Optimist or a flying foiling Moth, to the mighty ex-Olympic class Flying Dutchman. We also insure rowing boats, stand-up paddle boards, windsurfs and canoes.

What can I insure?

Equipment and fittings

Modern dinghies are packed with high-tech materials and fittings that often become damaged. In addition, some of these items are highly desirable to thieves and can be stolen.

Masts and rigging

Masts and rigging operate under high tensions and can break, which can cause damage to sails. All of these things can be covered by an insurance policy.


Even if you don’t race your dinghy, you could be involved in a collision. This could cause damage to your boat, as well as boats or property owned by third parties. A collision could also cause injury to other people. This can all be covered under a specialist third party indemnity policy.

Road risk

If your dinghy or trailer was damaged in a road traffic accident for example, it is unlikely that this will be covered under your motor insurance. However a boat insurance policy could cover such incidents.

Generally dinghy insurance policies include cover for:

  • Accidental damage
  • Weather related damage
  • Theft and malicious damage
  • Road transit cover
  • Third party risks

They typically exclude:

  • General wear and tear
  • Corrosion and rust

What does it cost?

Most dinghy policies are ‘packages’ that cover both damage to your own boat as well as damage to others, but you can also buy standalone third party only policies from as little as £25 per year.
If you wish to be protected against damage to your own craft you will need a comprehensive package. The cost of this will vary according to the type and value of the boat to be insured.
Dinghy premiums are calculated according to the boat’s performance, so generally the faster the design, the higher the group and higher the premium – similar to a sports car.

What can I do to help protect my dinghy?

It’s often a policy requirement to keep your boat well maintained and safe from obvious dangers. For example if the boat is going to spend the winter at a sailing club on its trailer or trolley, it should be tied down and secured with a protective cover, and all loose gear including the sails removed to safe storage.

With storms more prevalent during the winter months, in some parts of the country damage is inevitable. Rigging should be checked to ensure none of the wires are broken, and trailer bearings need to be checked and greased as they often seize resulting in consequential damage to the boat.

Where can I take my boat?

Most dinghy insurance policies will cover you anywhere in the UK, for both coastal and inland lakes and rivers. With our dinghy insurance policy, we also include 30 days European use, allowing you to take your boat into Europe for 30 days at a time. If you require longer periods abroad or plan to take your dinghy outside of Europe then call and speak to your insurance provider.

How do I get the right cover?

At Bishop Skinner Marine, we make it easy to buy dinghy insurance as you can purchase your cover online. If you prefer to discuss your requirements you can contact our team direct on 0800 783 8057.